It took Brighton a set piece down the left flank for Lewis Dunk to slot past Liverpool keeper Alisson a wonderfully struck ball into the box by Solly March. The Reds, in the few minutes left after Brighton’s equaliser, tried to get a winner, but in vain.
However, the free-kick that gave Brighton the equaliser in itself, was a very controversial one.
March, tricking past three players down that left side, fell to the ground after a “challenge” with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate both playing for the ball.
The pair of them surely did not have enough contact with the Brighton fullback for him to go to ground.
However, that was what Anthony Taylor saw in it and awarded a free-kick that eventually led to the Seagulls equalising with less than 15 minutes of time left before the referee blew the whistle and the scoreline ended 2-2 with Mohamed Salah scoring both goals for the Reds.
Speaking of that particular foul and the free-kick that followed, De Zerbi told Sussex World:
“I think there was a penalty but there wasn’t a foul [by Trent Alexander-Arnold for the free-kick] when we scored the second goal. I am honest. I told Jurgen my opinion.”
What sets his comments apart is his honesty and willingness to admit that while there may have been a penalty, the free-kick that led to Brighton’s second goal was controversial.
De Zerbi’s candid admission is a rarity in the world of football, where managers often fiercely defend their teams and decisions made by officials [if their side benefits from it].
His willingness to acknowledge the controversial nature of the free kick shows a refreshing level of honesty and objectivity.
While the outcome of the match remained unchanged, with a 2-2 final score, the debate surrounding the free-kick decision serves as a reminder of the contentious nature of officiating in football.
All in all, the Brighton manager’s comments are a refreshing reminder that honesty and objectivity can coexist in a sport often marked by passionate debates and differing opinions.